I don’t hate Country music.
I don’t think that I ever did. In fact, I had not consciously formed much of an opinion of it at all given my scant signposts of Patsy Cline, Garth Brooks, and Shania Twain.
However, a thing I’ve learned about being an adult is that sometimes the unconscious – both your own and the collective – decides something on your behalf, and that determination lingers in your mind in the place of an actual decision until you realize you’ve started making other decisions based on it.
Case and point: Country music. I don’t hate it. Yet, from absorbing a “my truck” here and a “my woman” there from songs playing in the background of life, I was passively assuming I hated country music. People at Smash Fantastic shows would request country songs from time to time and I would selectively ignore them. When Ashley gently suggested that it was finally time for us to learn a few country songs for the band, my reflexive response was, “UGH, NOT COUNTRY MUSIC.”
Despite that, I love to please a crowd, so I looked up a few of the artists that had been shouted in our direction. One was Eric Church. I fired up iTunes and YouTube to see what his most popular song was and they came back with a resounding answer of “Springsteen,” from Church’s third album, Chief.
Fast forward six months and “Springsteen” is AKA my favorite cover song to sing and my toddler’s bedtime song and generally just a fucking masterclass in songwriting.
(Advance to :24 to get to the beginning of the song.)
To get to that realization I had to stop hearing the twang in Church’s voice, because it was activating that unconscious bias of “UGH, NOT COUNTRY MUSIC.” Honestly, it’s a tiresome affectation on any singer, especially when it’s obscuring wonderful pop songs or gatekeeping them from the wider consciousness. You just have to hear past it to get to the performance and the lyrics. Singing it yourself aids in that, if you are able.
Somewhere between that setting sun, “I’m On Fire” and “Born to Run”
You looked at me and I was done. We were just getting started.
Beneath the twang and beyond the minimal band arrangement is the wonderful device of singing about how to find a person who doesn’t exist anymore. Not his long lost high school lover – she’s still walking around in the same town, skirting the edges of his life.
No, the person that no longer exists is his long lost high school self, and the only way to find him for a moment is to hear Bruce’s ragged baritone. [Read more…] about Music Monday: “Springsteen” – Eric Church